A Canadian painter risks everything to break into New York’s art market | Fisk: The New York Opening

A Canadian painter risks everything to break into New York’s art market | Fisk: The New York Opening



(honk) – When I was younger, when I was in school, I had a hard time. I didn't fit into the stream. And I got kicked out of schools, expelled, suspended… I don't know how many times. So what I needed, thankfully, was some sort of way
to define myself, give myself an identity. Fortunately, my mother
put me into lessons when I was, I think, seven. I always say that
if I didn't have my art, I'd probably be in jail. (laughs) Which is probably true. You can be very poor
and struggling but there's also
the opportunity that, with the right circumstances
coming into play, a bit of luck, hard work, that you can get
to astronomical heights of personal success. – This is the first solo
exhibition in this new space. We have basically everything
riding on this show. So, we need to sell a lot of
Fisks to keep the ball rolling. – Frank Bernaducci Gallery is giving me the opportunity to show the best work
that I have done to this point in a major market. And I'm incredibly optimistic about what this opportunity
presents. – You know, it's a gamble.
We are gamblers. This is his first show
with our gallery, period. So, he has no track record
with our clients. So, he's kind of starting
from scratch. (♪♪♪) The show runs through mid-May. It'll be up for the auction a week when people come
from all over the world to be in New York
and look at art and that will help us. And he's got clients
coming down from his hometown,
in Toronto, and other clients in Canada will be here. The best-case scenario
is that people will say: What is going on in Canada? How did we miss this? Why do we not know about
these Canadian painters? The worst-case scenario is that he would be
totally ignored. That no one
would write about it, no museum interest,
no critical attention. That would be a disaster. I think his work is long overdue
to be seen in New York. Now, Will's prices,
in my view, are low relative to what goes on
even just on this block. We have David Hockney's work
opening across the street. His work sells
for millions of dollars. And he's literally two hundred
meters away from the door here. Will could not be better situated. Like, he's in the heart
of the heart of Chelsea. (hammering) – OK, good! – Let's go. – Fantastic. – William and I have been
together for a long time. About twenty-two years. William is someone who needs to paint. And I think
because I was similar when I was dancing, I needed to dance, I understand that about him. I've never questioned why he needs to come out here
to his studio, six, seven days a week. And if he didn't,
he couldn't be a good father, he couldn't be a good husband, he couldn't, you know,
pick the kids up from school, because he would be unhappy. And I understand that, because I have experienced
that as a dancer. (paper rustling) (♪♪♪) – The scariest thing
is to know that you finally
have gotten to this level, that I've always strived
to attain since I was fourteen years
old… Um… and there's a possibility that, you know, it doesn't all work out. You know,
that it isn't all perfect once you get to this… the most… the uppermost echelon. This is my favourite. And the time invested in it,
obviously, to me, was worth it. And this one took four months. And I worked on it…
I didn't take a break. I worked on it straight through
for four months. Every day, seven days a week. I'm not an easy person to live with. Because, you know, I'm married
to my work, in a way. But your partner,
your wife or spouse, is completely understanding
that you need to do that to be the person
you want to be. And that's
an incredible gift. – Let's say,
if we sell everything, it's like a quarter
of a million dollars. If we sell them all. And the artist would get… $125,000… And, let's say he took out
a second mortgage for what, 300? So, well, he's getting closer
to getting his house back! (birds chirping) So, the show opens
at six o'clock. It's two hours from now. We kind of stress out
between now and then, but basically, we're ready. And people are coming in.
Are we open? OK… All we need is the artist. So, I'm trying to reach Will, except he doesn't have
a cell phone. (busy chatter) I have "Will Fisk", but it's actually
his wife's number. Let me see what happens. (♪♪♪) – I'm ready! (indistinct chatter) (♪♪♪) (indistinct goodbyes) Donald, good to see you. – Pleasure.
– Pleasure. This is the same
expert sienna… – This is a return to the great tradition
of having skill, in Renaissance,
Baroque, whatever. The subject matter
is totally different, it's completely different, but it's very
meticulously made. Just the way
William is talking about the paint
he's applying, etc., the colors
that are underneath, it's extraordinarily
subtle art. And that is something quite unusual. This is the most complicated, brilliant abstract work
that I see being made today. This is a brilliant passage,
right here, stripe painting. It's like you've covered every
dimension of abstraction, so to say. – I'm quite after Kelly,
and then, there's Newman… – You're better than
they are, frankly. So, just from a purely aesthetic
point of view, I think they're quite unique. In my experience,
I look at a lot of art, I'm a great admirer
of something really subtle, ingenious. – I've been back home now for about a week
since the show opened. On purpose,
I'd started a new work before I'd left for the opening, so that when I came back, there wouldn't be too much
of a disruption in my work schedule,
if you like. I could come back
and go right into work again. It's not about
the success or failure of a show of this level. It's, you know,
there's the realization that the world still spins, the sun comes up
and goes down, my kids still have
to go to basketball practice. You know,
there's a way, for me, to put it in perspective that you just
got to let it go. You have to just… focus on going forward and creating these things
that I want to see made. That is the most
important thing and that is my life. (crickets chirping)

36 Comments

  • CBC Docs says:

    His paintings are so detailed, you'll think they're photographs – https://youtu.be/AAuxglzfrDM

  • Gavin Yates says:

    Risking everything? Pay to play is more like it and him just being a C+ artist Trump's and a plus artist they can't afford to pay to play. Thanks a lot New York.

  • Gavin Yates says:

    Key West

  • Paul Drake says:

    I am not into photo-realism but they are very well done. I am an artist so I know what it's like before an exhibition so I wish him all the best.

  • Amaresh Pereira says:

    Awsum work, my best wishes Wiilam!

  • gloobnord says:

    Why not just take a photo? Sparnaay has already shown that an egg will sell. These guys are technicians, but are they artists? Is this what their lives are like? If it is I feel sorry for their kids. I have a blender, but it certainly doesn't inspire me. It's an electric tool. It's like a cave painter thousands of years ago only painting a stick with a stone tip over and over and over again. Wouldn't tell us anything about what their lives were like.

  • Don Bailey says:

    You should get yourselk a good camera , it dont take four months to take a picture. Could have saved yourselk a lot of time.
    Then just put a few brush strokes here and there and call it a mixed
    Medium.
    What to you mean, iam makeing fun of modern art? Ok so iam.
    When you can tear up a sheet of newspaper drop it on a Museum
    Floor put a clear plastic box over it and call it art, i think Rembrandt
    And a few others are rolling over in their graves from shame.

  • jaduvalify says:

    Elegant. Articulate. Subtle. Perfect. Elite. Maybe Japan will be next.

  • john ryman says:

    He's an illustrator, his work has no emotive quality and shows nothing of innovation or creativity, "newness". If this was 1969 ? They can be made by machine, why bother? Is it professional careerism, or career professional?

  • Jose Blanco says:

    Apple should buy it all.

  • Jon Xenos says:

    Everyone wants to come o the US for the money taking away US citizen's opportunities…. stay in Canada with your super health care system & bow to the queen….

  • Reid Sheftall says:

    a good photorealist.. not risking anyting.. just got a NY show. Good for him.. I like the blender the most..very good.. Good luck!

  • Winona Wins says:

    Beautiful!! N to risk invest everything like this goes to show what a thorough artist he is….. From one artist to another my sincere prayers n wishes for Fisk to be successful n well known. ☺👍👍👍

  • marino patti says:

    this is art?

  • Alfred Rivera says:

    The glasses painting would look good in an optometrist’s office.

  • Samuel Mitchell says:

    Great !
    I wonder what easel he used

  • lambent ort says:

    His subject matter is super banal but really quite intriguing. There is a cold sharpness to it all… as if he's trying to match the superb engineering inherent of the original objects. Composed to show off their design, framed against icy white backgrounds, emblems of mid-20th century materiality, things that symbolise past glories… meticulously made things, but long past their prime. Cameras, clocks, watches. It's not just photorealism. It's an homage to a kind of obsessive perfectionism. It's about the death of something.

  • Michael says:

    That art critic said he was better than barnett newman and Ellsworth Kelly…hahahaha two pioneers of an entirely new genre compared to fisk who is doing derivative work that has already been done better by robert bechtle, richard estes, ralph goings, etc…etc…you should compare apples to apples…

  • Michael says:

    “Williams work is priced low, there are david Hockney’s across the street” hmm, okay, so by that logic, if I show next to David Zwirner, I should sell my work based on the most expensive work that another gallery sells their end of career artists who have established primary and secondary works for? Wow, did not realize that is how that worked…

  • Anders Liljevall says:

    Art for fetishists maybe. Pretty pointless. If you like perfection, buy a Bolin tiara or a Faberge egg)(if you can afford it, good investment too!)

  • airmark02 says:

    the subtitles at end of this self indulgent Doc. ( Crickets Chirping ) kind of says it all ~ lol

  • JazlDazl says:

    Enlightening that great art is truly only as good as it's marketing

  • Watches and Art says:

    Impressive talent…

  • Bintang Perkasa says:

    Poetic feeling to see when a camera is painted in photographically-superrealism way. Irony I'd say…

  • attila antal says:

    these are just painting and not art

  • allison anderson says:

    Of course another profile on another male artist.. what about all the WOMEN who gave everything and have went unnoticed.

  • John Kimble says:

    The cameras are beautiful

  • Redd Nacpil says:

    he didnt just copy those, he composed the details to look how he wanted. there is a subtlety to his work. it might seem boring cause its in a video, and you might feel like youve seen a million other photo realist out there, but theres always something different and grand when a person pays attention to so much detail not the detail of what he is painting but the detail of the image he is creating himself

  • Edward Edward says:

    I’m surprised he only sold 4 this is really good work.

  • Jim Franco says:

    That title is click bait. He wasn't risking everything. Fisk had a gallery show in NYC. Hardly living on the edge.

  • David Platt says:

    Great doc. Great paintings.

  • Michael Park says:

    FISK IS A GENIUS!!!!!

  • Quincy Logie says:

    Great skill…boring as hell though.

  • Julian I says:

    I've learned to distinguish between artist and aestetic creators. This guy is an eastetic painter. Advanced decour, the meaning is the eastetic itself.

  • Arthur Benjamins says:

    I've had many exhibitions myself and believe me – the days leading up the opening is the most energy-sapping time you can imagine.
    There are the so-called 'vanity galleries' in NYC. You simply put your money down (loads of it) and they'll set up a show for you. I've had this one such gallery chase me for some years now and every time I send them packing. Unless i missed it, can someone tell me why he had to remortgage his house? Was the gallery THAT expensive to hire?
    I noted almost every parasite hanging around, posing with their coterie of little friends, drinking the booze and not being interested in the slightest what's on the walls.
    NYC is notoriously difficult to break into. I wonder how De Kooning, Rothko, Kline etc would have fared today?
    Regarding his rotating easel – check out the internet, otherwise just make one yourself. Easy peasy.

  • Bruce B says:

    The gallery owner said he was bringing down his clients. What? Why? Can’t the Canadian clients buy the work in Canada? All these gallery owners are only after the artist’s clients.

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